Salman Khan
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Khans get friendly!

Salman Khan


Mumbai, Aug. 16 -- On Thursday (August 14) night, just after the trailer launch of Shah Rukh Khan's next, Salman Khan tweeted, "Jst saw happy new year ka promo, its Kick ass. (sic)"

Never mind the clever reference to his last release; it's apparent that the duo's strained relationship is improving now. Just last month, the two hugged at an Iftar party - they embraced at the same occasion last year too. It's a huge departure from their brawl at Katrina Kaif 's birthday party in 2008. Eyebrows were also raised when, that year, a third Khan - Aamir - wrote about having a dog named "Shahrukh", on his blog.

Now, Aamir has also extended an olive branch to Shah Rukh. He has postponed the launch of the second poster of his next, which was slated to take place the next day. Apparently, he felt that since SRK had picked the date before, it would only be fair for him to make the compromise.

City psychologist Shweta Parekh decodes this newfound bonhomie: "In psychological terms, we call it self-actualisation. At their age, one feels it's important to forgive and forget. They have achieved whatever they wanted to, so at this stage, they're looking beyond themselves to find a deeper self."

The film industry, too, seems excited with the thawing of their equation. "It's a good thing. Everyone has become professional. Since the stakes are very high for their films, all their attention is on their work. The competition has become tough. Besides, they always had respect for one another," says film-maker David Dhawan.

At his event, SRK joked about Aamir's nudity in his film's first poster, saying he wants to do something similar. He said, "I don't deal with comparisons (box office comparisons with other big films). I always hope to do better with every film. I wish PK (Aamir's next film), Kick (Salman's just released movie), Happy New Year, and all other films do good business, and entertain people."

Director Anees Bazmee notes, "Competition at such a high level will always lead to problems, but their bonhomie augurs well for the film business. They were always mature people, but as they say, everything happens at the right time."

But experts have mixed feelings. "There was a lot of bitterness earlier, but they must have realised that there's no point in holding grudges. If in the '70s and the '80s, Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Shashi Kapoor could work together, then why can't it happen again?" says trade analyst Taran Adarsh. On the other hand, trade expert Amod Mehra dismisses the phenomenon, saying, "I don't know how much bonhomie there is, but it's a nice way to show their diplomacy."

"More than bonhomie, I hope it's out of selfrespect. The stage at which these stars are, and the stature they have, it doesn't suit them if they take digs at each other. If their kind words for their films help the business by even one per cent, it will only be beneficial for the industry," says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.